There are many ways you can get a sprained ankle. Even the slightest unexpected twist can injure your ankle ligaments. Ankle sprains differ than ankle strains because sprains involve the ligaments, but strains involve the muscles. Roughly 80% of all ankle injuries are inversion injuries. They happen when your foot rolls in and causes the causing stretching and stress on the ligaments on the outside (lateral) part of your ankle.
The outside ligament of the ankle is called the talofibular ligament, and spraining it is the most common type of ankle sprain. Some lateral sprains can be severe enough that you also injury other ligaments like the calcaneofibular ligament as well. While enduring a sprain can increase your risk for reinjury, there are things you can do to increase your risk of another ankle sprain or injury. But adequate post-injury care, pt exercises and ankle support can decrease your risk.
How to Care for a Sprained Ankle:
- Remember the term “RICE”. It stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Rest means to stay off of it for a while, and avoid any activities that cause pain or additional swelling. Ice the area for no more than 20 minutes at a time, throughout the day every couple of hours. Compression helps stop and alleviate swelling, so you can use a bandage to wrap around the ankle. Make sure it’s not too tight, and start the wrap near your toes working your way up. Elevate your ankle above your heart, especially when you sleep, to also help reduce swelling.
- If the injury looks and/or feels severe, it’s important to call your medical professional immediately. If a sprain is bad enough, you may have to wear a boot or cast to help heal the sprain and prevent further injury.
Tips to Prevent an Ankle Sprain:
- Always get a good warm-up in before you begin your workout
- Keep a close eye on the ground if you’re walking or running on uneven pavement.
- Work on strength, stability & stretching of the muscles and ligaments in your ankle & leg.
- Wear ankle braces to help provide extra support during activity, especially after you’ve experienced an ankle sprain.
What to do When You Get a Sprained Ankle